I apologize for the lack of updates lately. It's been busy in the Macho household!
We're currently in week four of Macho's training, and I think it is going quite well. We work with Macho (almost!) every day on his leash. When we put him on the leash, our goal is to get him to stop fighting, and once he does, try to get him to come to us. He has been doing great at coming to us. When he does, we praise him and can pet him. It's been really great being able to pet him outside the cage. It makes me feel like we're doing the right thing even when he hates being on the leash. He still tries to back away and get the collar off of him, but it's becoming less and less.
I discovered a handy product that has been great. It's called Bach Flower Rescue Remedy- ever heard of it? You put a few drops of the liquid either right into the dog's mouth or you can put it on their food or in their water bowl. It helps the dog relax and lower their stress. The first day I put a few drops in Macho's food, then gave him about a half hour. I bought it to try to clip his nails because they were so long that they would get stuck in the links of the chain on his collar. Clipping his nails this time was actually worse than the first time. Nick couldn't get a hold of Macho very well, and he was fighting so hard. I thought the Bach Flower didn't work at all and was a bit disappointed that I spend $21.00 on it! But the next morning, Macho was very relaxed. When I fed him again the second night, I put a few more drops of the Bach Flower in his food. When I went to put the collar on him, he laid there without fighting. I couldn't believe it at all. Also, whenever I put the collar and leash on Macho, his first reaction would be to run away and then fight when I held the leash and prevented him from running away. Now when I first start to work with him, he is very calm. He walks out of his cage slowly and will walk right up to me for pets. He'll fight occasionally, but it's not as severe as it has been.
The only other major change in Macho's life is that we moved his cage last night. We decided to put it in our bedroom so he can be close to us and so we don't have to check on him during the night. Lately we've been having thunderstorms at night, and we want to make sure that Macho isn't terrified in the living room by himself. Last night was the first night we tried it. At first he was nervous to be close to our bed, but he eventually came into the bedroom and laid in his cage. He slept there all night, but if one of us moved too quickly, he would run out of the cage. I think he will get used to it in time, and I'm sure it will be better than sleeping in the living room by himself. While we are home, we are going to take his bed out of the cage and put it in the living room so that he isn't in our bedroom by himself.
I think that Macho is really making progress since we've been working with the trainer. He has come a long way with toileting, as he pees on the pads about 80% of the time. He was using the pad that was near his cage, so my new fear is that he won't know where to go now that his cage is in our bedroom. I put one pad right in front of the cage and one right next to it. Hopefully he will use them if he has to go during the night, and then when he is out in the living room with us, he will use the same one he used before. I just don't want to ruin the progress we've made so far!
I have been a major slacker at taking pictures of Macho, and I blame it on my camera. A few months back my camera broke, and I still haven't gotten it fixed. Once I get it fixed or get a new one, I'll be back to posting some pictures and videos of Macho Man. He is just so cute :)